Upcoming OTT documentary retraces ‘Onavillu’ tradition

The documentary, produced by north Indian businessman Abhinav Kalra, outlines the fable behind Onavillu and Vilayil Veedu family, the custodians of the tradition. 

Published: 26th August 2023 07:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th August 2023 04:24 PM   |  A+A-

Director Sarath Chandra Mohan. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Onam is not merely an occasion for celebration. It’s also a time to revisit and reconnect with various cultural traditions. One such unique tradition is the annual offering of Onavillu, (ceremonial bow) at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple on Thiruvonam day.

Thiruvananthapuram-based writer and photographer Anand Banaras, techie Sarat Chandra Mohan, and graphic designer Pratheesh Kalanjoor have curated a 40-minute documentary, ‘Onavillu, The Divine Bow’, which traces the tradition’s roots linked with King Mahabali. 

The documentary, produced by north Indian businessman Abhinav Kalra, outlines the fable behind Onavillu and Vilayil Veedu family, the custodians of the tradition. 

“We used to visit the temple, and that’s how we learned about Onavillu. It is an integral part of our heritage,” says Anand. 

“However, during research, we found that only a few were aware of its history. There was very little information available.” 

That led the trio to document the divine bow and its story. Elaborating on the mythology, he says: “King Mahabali was ordered by Lord Vamana, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, to depart for the Sutala Loka. Before leaving, Mahabali wished to witness Lord Vishnu’s Dasavatharam (10 incarnations). Vishnu summoned Vishwakarma and instructed him to depict the Dasavatharam on a wooden plank.” 

This was carried forward by the lineage of Vishwakarma. “Besides Vilayil Veedu, a family near Adikesava Perumal Temple at Thiruvattar in Kanyakumari district also carries forward the Onavillu tradition,” 
Anand, along with his team, dedicated over seven months to gathering the intricate details for the project. The documentary also features the Travancore Royal National Anthem, ‘Vanchi Bhumi’,  penned by Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer. 

Notably, music for the project was curated by Belgium-based veteran musician Stephane Orlando. “The theme deeply inspired me. I blended sounds of sitar, bansuri, percussions, and classical strings based on an Indian raga with European chords,” he gushes. “It’s an amalgamation of music from two cultures – a unique endeavor.” 

The Travancore anthem has been rendered by Bollywood singer Tanya Dev Gupta. “The song exudes a divine essence,” she smiles. Presented in Hindi, Malayalam and English, the documentary is set to be released on the Jio Cinemas OTT platform on September 2.

Follow The New Indian Express channel on WhatsApp


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp